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50 State Database

Welcome to the Cornell Linking Economic Development and Child Care 50 State Database!

Many organizations provide data on early care and education. This database provides an overview of all current, national sources of comparative data on the early care and education sector including: child care economic data, demographic data, and early care and education program (policy) data. 30 sources are profiled. These include federal census and administrative data, federal survey data, and national organizations that collect or maintain comparative data on children and families or early care and education more generally. The Description of Data Sources provides information on each data source, variables collected, and hotlinks to each organization's web site to access the raw data. We also provide hotlinks to the relevant section in the Cornell Methodology Guide that discusses the issues to consider when using such data in a regional analysis of the economic importance of child care.

For the Linking Economic Development and Child Care Research project, we have developed a 50 State Comparative Database using data from many of these sources. We have provided that data base for your use here. It includes a sampling of variables from many of the sources profiled here. You can search this data by three broad categories: child care economic data (establishments, employees, wages, etc), demographics (working parents, average income, poverty), and child care program data (CCDF, TANF redirect). This quantitative database was built in Fall 2003-Spring 2004. It includes the most recent data available at that time.

The Early Care and Education Sector is still an emerging market sector. As such there are still many data challenges. Economic data often undercount sectors with large numbers of small, non-employer establishments. Program data count targets of policy well (e.g. Head Start children or subsidy children), but no data source provides a comprehensive view of all children in care. Pay close attention to variable definitions and collection methods, these can help explain the large differences in variables across data sources. We have provided links to the Cornell Methodology Guide where caveats regarding different data sources are provided. Comparison tables across data sources are provided for establishments (Cornell Methodology Guide Table B-2 Appendix B) and employees (Cornell Methodology Guide Table B-1 Appendix B). These demonstrate just how different data can be when collected by different sources with different definitions and methodologies of collection. Care must be taken with all data and we recommend going to the original source for data and definitions of variables to ensure you are using the most appropriate data for your needs. We hope this database will help you as you build a profile of the regional economic importance of child care in your state.

This database was developed by Rosaria Ribeiro (formerly of Cornell University and now with the National Child Care Information Center) with support from Professor Mildred Warner.

Other organizations have a continuing responsibility to update data and we recommend in future years you go to those sources directly. Two comprehensive sites that provide comparative data across states are the National Child Care Information Center and the Child Care and Early Education Research Connections, launched by the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan. Both of these groups are supported by the Child Care Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide ongoing database support.